INMO says nurses and midwives’ wellbeing must be Budget priority

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The INMO has called for the health, safety and wellbeing of nurses and midwives to be at the forefront of Budget 2023.

The union, which represents 42,000 nurses and midwives, has said that urgent action must be taken to tackle years of under-funding, under-staffing and under-resourcing exposed by the pandemic.

The INMO’s pre-Budget submission includes the implementation of the Report of the Expert Review Body on Nursing and Midwifery, and all nurse staffing to be underpinned by the Framework Model for Safe Nurse Staffing and Skill Mix.

They are calling for the Framework to be funded, underpinned by legislation and expanded across the health service.

The submission also calls for recommendations of the Health Service Capacity Review to be implemented, and bed occupancy reduced to 85%.

The INMO wants Sláintecare to deliver a universally accessible health care service for all, which is enshrined in legislation, and called for clarification on the long-term future of Sláintecare.

Other demands include zero tolerance for overcrowding, and for funding to establish a health service division within the HSA to ensure adequate protections for nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers in response to the increase in workplace assaults, burnout and occupational infections.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said that since the Dáil broke up for its summer recess, 11,275 people have been without a bed in Irish hospitals.

She said that unless there is meaningful action on staffing, bed capacity and using the capacity of private hospitals, we are in for an extremely bleak winter.

“The Minister for Health must prioritise the publication and actioning of a fully funded winter capacity plan in tandem with Budget 2023.

“Many healthcare workers have been infected, are now getting re-infected and suffering from long COVID, without adequate response from the Government.

“Government must prioritise an occupational injury scheme for nurses and midwives with long COVID, and introduce robust screening, ventilation to ensure clean air, and infection control measures across the health service and society.”